Mersino doesn’t regret move to Carson
When Nathan Mersino found out he was moving from Coos Bay, Ore., to Carson City last year, he wasn’t a happy camper.
“I didn’t want to come,” Mersino said. “Coos Bay was my home, but I’ve grown to like Carson a lot. I’ve made a lot of new friends, and the team is like my family.”
And Mersino has become an important part of the CHS wrestling team. He helped the Senators go undefeated in Sierra League competition, and his second-place finish at 132 pounds at last week’s regional helped Carson to a second-place team finish.
Mersino and the Senators conclude their season today at the NIAA State Championships in Primm at the Star of the Desert Arena. Action gets under way at 8:30 a.m.
Mersino is joined in Primm by eight teammates — Terin Keller (106), Brandon Basa (113), Kyle Rudy (120), Brady O’Keefe (138), Abel Carter (170), Connor Sievers (195), Corey Jasper (220) and heavyweight Sheldon Miller.
Douglas is represented by Blake Murray (160), Will Williams (138) and Andrew William (113).
Mersino opens against Las Vegas High’s Nick Sablan, who comes in with a 36-14 record and is the second seed out of the Sunrise League. Mersino said he knows nothing about Sablan, and he prefers it that way.
“It helps not knowing anything about the guy I’m wrestling,” Mersino said during a telephone interview Thursday night. “When I wrestle somebody I know I tend to get more nervous. I’m just going to go out there and give it my all. I’m going to leave everything on the mat.
“I think this year has been my best so far. I’ve learned a lot the last couple of weeks. I’ve been working on not hesitating before taking a shot; just going for it.”
If Mersino wins, he’s likely to get Bishop Gorman’s Mason Campbell, the No. 1 seed from the Sunset League.
Mersino said a big difference between Oregon and Nevada wrestling is the schedule.
“In Oregon, they have a lot of (local) tournaments, and you don’t go out of state often. You always seem to wrestle somebody you know,” he said. “Here, we go to California tournaments a lot so you wrestle new people.”
Mersino, who gave up football to concentrate on wrestling, is actually wrestling a weight lower than he’d like. He admits he’s looking forward to next season when he can wrestle 138s all year. Currently, O’Keefe is wrestling 138 in post-season after going 145s most of the season.
Mersino said it will be much easier on his body if he can wrestle at 138s all year. He has had to cut and gain weight all season, which isn’t easy on the body. He came to Primm having to drop two pounds.
“I am pretty good at maintaining,” he said. “I’ve never missed a weigh-in. I usually lose a pound when I’m sleeping. I’m not worried.”
At 106, Keller drew Shadow Ridge’s Francisco Martinez (39-14). Keller would face either Valley’s Ulises Munguia or Owen Jones of Spanish Springs if he wins. At 113, Brandon Basa faces off against Liberty’s Adam Knopnow. The winner figures to get either Green Valley’s Danny Brathor or top-seeded Ryan Pierce of Centennial. Kyle Rudy, Carson’s 120-pounder, has an out-bracket match against Elyas Lizares of Foothill, who was 24-9 this year. The winner will get Shadow Ridge’s Alika Villanotra, who was 45-10 this year.
An interesting first-round match at 138 pits Carson’s Brady O’Keefe, the third seed out of the north, facing Sunset champ Jamison Rand, who was 37-10 this year. The winner gets the winner of the Will Williams-Wyatt English match. English is from Foothill. At 170, Carter goes up against Green Valley’s Jared Temple, who was 30-9 this year. North Valleys’ Sheldon Martin, who lost to Carter in the semifinals, goes up against Joey Mazzara of Bishop Goman, and the winner meets Carter or Temple.
Sievers has an out-bracket match against David Rivera of Palo Verde. Rivera was 15-9 last year. At 220, Corey Jasper faces Alexander Espinosa of Arbor View. The winner of that match faces Dean Doss of Silverado or McQueen’s Jayden LaPorte. Miller also has an out-bracket match. He faces Miguel Torres of Cimarron-Memorial, who was 27-10 this year. Green Valley’s Anthony Valenti (13-3) awaits the winner.